The Best Restaurants in Rome, Italy
A Few Tips on Rome Restaurants:
Rome restaurants have their own rules and culture. Here are a few suggestions we have to make your dining experience more easy and breezy:
- Make reservations as soon as possible. Italy as a whole is a country that runs on reservations. They’re typically very easy to make and they’ll not only ensure that you get a spot in the restaurant, but in essence, it reserves your table for the afternoon/evening. Try calling (even if the restaurant isn’t open), reserving online via the website, or send a good old fashioned email. You can also see if the restaurant you’re reserving is on Quandoo. Most restaurants are very speedy to reply and worst-case scenario you can always cancel.
- Always have cash on hand. Several Rome restaurants (and yes, even some of the best restaurants in Rome) accept cash only for payment.
- Don’t leave a 20% tip. And if you do decide to tip, a few Euros is completely and totally acceptable. Many diners subscribe to the rough rule that 1 Euro per person is an adequate tip or to round up your check by a few Euros. Restaurant employees are paid significantly more than American waiters and waitresses and a server in Italy would never expect a 15-20% tip. And in the unfortunate event that your service is bad, don’t leave a tip.
- Take your time. Italian culture is so hyperfocused on the food and dining experience (part of the reason we love it so much) that trying to rush your way through a meal isn’t encouraged. Plan on 1.5-2 hours for a typical lunch and closer 2-3 for dinner.
20. Gelato: Otaleg
Gelato in Italy (and especially in Rome), is quite literally is everywhere. There’s nothing better than a cone filled with fresh, mouth-watering gelato artigianale. There are several fantastic gelaterias in Rome, but if you can only go to one, we recommend Otaleg in Trastevere. Serving creamy, high-quality gelato with a pretty sweet name (gelato spelled backward), Otaleg is a great place to visit after a delicious lunch or dinner at any of our favorite restaurants in Trastevere. They have classics and new flavors, but no matter which direction you go everything is going to be delicious. Don’t forget to ask for a dollop of cream on the top.
19. Suppli: Suppli Roma
Rome is known for its delicious street food snacks, all of which seem to be deep-fried, and of all the offerings in this family, suppli is our favorite. A deep-fried ball of rice with tomato and mozzarella, this Italian snack is seriously addicting. You can find suppli all across town but our favorite spot for this local favorite is Suppli Roma in Trastevere. A great spot for a quick in and out snack if you’re wanding this historic neighborhood. They also have fantastic pizza by the slice if you’re in the mood for something more filling.
18. Gnocchi Thursday: L’arcangelo
In the states, food enthusiasts celebrate Taco Tuesday, and in Italy, there’s Gnocchi Giovedi or “Gnocchi Thursday”! A great excuse to indulge in some of our favorite pasta ever. What’s there not to like about fluffy pillow of carbohydrate heaven? There are hundreds of places to get your gnocchi fix on in Rome but one of the best Rome restaurants for this dumpling-like pasta is L’arcangelo. Served with the typical and delectable amatriciana sauce, this gnocchi is seriously heaven in a bite and, thankfully, available not just on Thursdays but every day of the week except Sunday.
17. Bakery: Panificio Bonci
In Rome there’s a panificio or bakery on nearly every corner, selling typical Italian baked goods from sweets to pizza to bread- lots of fresh, homemade bread. And while so many of these bakeries meet the mark, our absolute favorite is Panificio Bonci. Yes, this bakery is owned and operated by the same Gabrielle Bonci of Pizzarium (keep reading), so you know it’s going to be good. Come here first thing in the morning or just before lunchtime to stock up on chocolate-filled croissants, crostatas, focaccia, and of course pizza! They serve the same amazing pizza here as they do at Pizzarium, but the wait is a fraction of the time you’d spend at Pizzarium and there’s definitely less variety. Moral of the story: if you need a breadtastic fix in Rome, Panificio Bonci is the place to be.
16. Alfredo: Alfredo Alla Scrofa
Alfredo Alla Scrofa is home to THE original fettuccine Alfredo in Rome. You won’t find this dish much elsewhere in town but it’s buttery, delicate, and oh so decadent! It’s not a dish that you’ll be able to tackle every day but if you’re a fettuccine alfredo fan it’s a must-try in Rome! This isn’t the Fettuccine Alfredo you had at the Olive Garden growing up- the pasta is covered purely in Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh butter. Bonus points for great air conditioning, lemon with Diet Coke, and great customer service.
15. Pizza Pocket: Trapizzino
There are so many incredible places for pizza in Rome, but our favorite unique and innovative rendition of this Italian staple is the pizza pocket or sandwich version of pizza, found at Trapizzino. Choose from several different options to create a delicious pizza pocket of your choice. The bread alone is amazing (slightly chewy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside), and each Trapizzino is filled with melt in your mouth meat & sauce concoctions that are seriously TDF. Can’t decide which one to try? We recommend the chicken cacciatore and the meatball with sauce. Trapizzino is now located all across Italy and even in NYC, but the original location is in Testaccio and it’s undeniably one of the best restaurants in Rome.
14. Local’s Market: Mercato Testaccio
Testaccio is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Rome for food, and it’s also home to our favorite local market in the entire city, Market Testaccio. Flooded with vendors selling beautifully fresh produce and various stalls open for breakfast and lunch, this covered market is the place to be. Come ready to explore and bring your appetite. Favorite vendors include Le Mani in Pasta for amazing handmade pasta and Mordi e Vai for incredible made-to-order sandwiches.
13. Roman Pizza: Emma
There are several different styles of pizza that you’ll find in Rome, but one of the most prevalent is Pizza Romana or Roman-style pizza. It’s thin, it’s crispy, and it’s so fantastically delicious. Our favorite place for this kind of pie in the Eternal City is Emma, one of our favorite Rome restaurants located near Campo de Fiori. You can order a whole host of menu items at Emma including appetizers, pasta, and of course pizza. There are dozens of pizza options but we recommend ordering at least one of the classic Margherita pizzas for simple yet sublime satisfaction.
12. Suckling Pig: La Tavernaccia Da Bruno
We get it. Not everyone can eat JUST pizza and pasta for days on end, so if you’re looking for something on this list of Rome restaurants with a little more substance, head to La Tavernaccia Da Bruno. The roasted suckling pig is the absolute star of the show here. Cooked in a wood-fired oven, this crispy-on-the-outside and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside pork is truly worthy of one of your precious meals in Rome. They also do serve fantastic appetizers (get the bruschetta), pasta, and crispy roman-style pizza for dinner only.
11. Cacio E Pepe:Roma Sparita
Cacio e pepe is everywhere you look in Rome, and while you can find plenty of fantastic renditions of this traditional Roman dish, our favorite spot for a bowl of cheese and pepper isRoma Sparita. Creamy and decadent cacio e pepe is served in a bowl made entirely of cheese. And whether you decide to devour your cheese bowl or not (you probably should), the cacio e pepe is fantastic completely on its own.Roma Sparita is one of our favorite Rome restaurants for patio seating in beautiful Piazza di Santa Cecilia in Trastevere and quite literally a cacio e pepe lover’s dream come true!
10. Pizza Alla Pala: Antico Forno Roscioli
The Roscioli family has created a bit of an empire in Rome, from the salumeria to the restaurant to the caffe to the bakery. And the bakery (otherwise known as the Antico Forno) is a cannot miss on our list of Rome restaurants! You can get all kinds of assorted bread and sweet treats here, but the pizza alla pala (literally translated as “shovel pizza”) is truly to die for. Don’t pass by the pizza rossa- it’s simple but cannot be missed!
9. Panino: Forno Campo de Fiori
Another bakery that sells pizza? Yes! But this time we’re here for our favorite panino in the entire city. The foundation for this panino is the pizza bianca or “white pizza”, made with flour, water, salt, yeast, and extra virgin olive oil. No toppings and so completely delicious as is, but infinitely better with delicious mortadella between two slices. One of the best cheap eats in the entire city and one of the best restaurants in Rome.
8. Carbonara: Da Enzo
In Rome you’ll see carbonara over and over and over again. Everyone seems to have “the best” carbonara and while most of them are truly delicious, none compare to the carbonara you’ll have at Da Enzo, one of the very best Rome restaurants. It’s a tiny trattoria and fills up quickly for both lunch and dinner daily (reservations are a must), but completely worth planning ahead for. Made with typical carbonara ingredients including cured pork cheek, pecorino romano, and freshly ground black pepper, there’s just something above and beyond when it comes to this bowl of rigatoni heaven.
7. Modern Pizza: Seu Pizza Illuminati
One of our favorite Rome restaurants for fantastic pizza is Seu Pizza Illuminati. They’re in a less than charming part of Trastevere and it’s not a restaurant you’d ever stumble upon, but all the more reason for you to make a reservation at this innovative pizzeria. The pizza here has its own, unique composition with the fluffy, pillowy crust and less than common toppings. Regardless of what you order, it’s going to be some of the best pizza you’ll ever devour in Rome.
Related Video: Pizza Tour in Rome, Italy
6. Off The Beaten Path: L’osteria Di Monteverde Roma
When in Rome, take the road less traveled for a non-touristy restaurant that serves truly incredible food in the Monteverde neighborhood. L’osterira Monteverde doesn’t seem like anything special from the outside (or even the inside), but this is home to some of the best food in Rome. With a rotating menu for both lunch and dinner, come here to enjoy classic Italian dishes with a twist. The charming and incredibly friendly staff are the cherry on top.
5. Classic & Adventurous: SantoPalato
SantoPalato is moving and shaking things up in the culinary space in Rome. Female executive chef and owner Sarah Cicoliniat serves a variety of noteworthy dishes for lunch and dinner, every day except Monday. Indulge in roman classics like spaghettone carbonara (highly recommend), rigatoni alla amatriciana, or tonnarello cacio e pepe. Feeling a little more adventurous? Try the chicken giblets and liver omelet or the Roman style trip with tomato sauce and pecorino. One of the best restaurants in Rome without question.
4. Pizza al Taglio: Bonci Pizzarium
Pizza Al Taglio means pizza “by the cut”, which is exactly what you’re getting a Pizzarium. Head to this pizzeria near the Vatican for lunch or dinner any day of the week and you are in for a pizza lover’s treat! Priced by weight and worth every penny, this pan cooked pizza has amazing texture and flavor no matter what you order. Show up as early as possible (they open at 11), grab a number, and wait your turn for some of the most delicious pizza you will ever have. The classic margherita and the potato and mozzarella are must try slices. If waiting in line isn’t your thing, you can enjoy this same great pizza (but with a little less variety to choose from) at Panificio Bonci or Mercato Centrale Roma just a few steps away from the Roma Termini train station.
3. Neapolitan Pizza: La Gatta Mangiona
La Gatta Mangiona is a little out of the way, but if you’re a true pizza enthusiast, make time for dinner here. This Neapolitan style pizza is truly a thing of beauty from the delicate crust to the fresh mozzarella and crushed tomatoes, to the insanely flavorful toppings. They also offer takeaway for a relaxed night in but you must order at the restaurant. Absolutely one of the best Rome restaurants especially for amazing pizza!
2. Amatriciana: Trattoria Da Cesare al Casaletto
Da Cesare is at the top of our list for the best Rome restaurants because of the in-cre-di-ble food situated in a residential neighborhood of Monteverde, far away from the hustle and bustle of central Rome. We haven’t had a bad thing on the menu, but you’re here for the delectable pasta for lunch or dinner. The bucatini alla amatriciana is the best amatriciana you’ll find in Rome and the tonnarelli alla gricia is worth ordering over and over again.
Related Video: Best Pasta in Rome
1. The Whole 9 Yards: Roscioli Salumeria con Cucina
Perhaps you only have one day in Rome (#blasphemy) or maybe you’ve stumbled upon this blog post with only a few days left in the Eternal City. If there’s only one restaurant we can recommend for a truly stupendous meal at one of our favorite Rome restaurants, it’s hands down Roscioli. Reservations are an absolute must (check out their website), but it will be well worth the planning for some of the best appetizers and classic roman pasta you will ever devour. Favorite menu items include the burrata Pugliese conpomodorini (burrata with black pepper and sundried cherry tomatoes), the cacio e pepe, and the bucatini alla amatriciana. Make sure and save room for the complimentary biscotti and chocolate at the end of your meal- a dessert worthy for the Roman Gods.